Will the implementation of a new health insurance requirement for visitors decrease the number of expatriates visiting Kuwait?
Law No. 15 of 2019 was recently published in the Gazette, and shall be implemented within the next few months, which requires all visitors to the State of Kuwait to have health insurance that covers the visitors during their stay in Kuwait. As of now, we do not know how the government will implement such law but we can only imagine that it will definitely decrease visitors from taking advantage of free medical healthcare during their trip.
As of now, there are over 50 nationalities, in addition to GCC residents (with specific professions) that are allowed to use the Kuwait e-Visa system. Therefore, these expatriates can always submit proof of insurance during the application process by uploading proof. Further, the nationalities that are not allowed to use the e-Visa system, nor be granted a visa upon arrival, can submit proof of insurance during the visa process. Such policy shall have to be valid for the duration of the visa. I imagine that the insurance policy shall also have to be presented during arrival in Kuwait, unless the issuance of a visa shall constitute as enough proof to grant entry into the State of Kuwait.
For the more than 50 nationalities that are granted an entry visa upon arrival in Kuwait, shall be the most impacted in terms of convenience. Since these nationalities are not required to obtain a visa prior to commencing travel to Kuwait, they may not know about the insurance requirement during the ticketing process, there should also be an option to purchase the insurance upon arrival at the entry point.
It will be very interesting to see how such law shall be implemented, especially at entry points outside of the Kuwait International Airport.
By Najmah Matesse Brown, Esq